By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Rayyan squandered the chance to go on top of the QNB Stars League after being held to a 1-1 draw by Al Arabi Saturday. At the Al Janoub Stadium, Rayyan were lucky not to trail after a poor performance in the first half. They did put in a better show after the break, but failed to find the net and snatch full three points.
Al Rayyan are now just one point behind leaders Duhail, who can extend the lead to four points if they win against Al Gharafa Sunday. Arabi suffered yet another jolt in their bid to finish among the top four that would give them a chance to play in the Qatar Cup and AFC Champions League.
Arabi attacked more in the first half and then the role changed, with Rayyan making a string of attacks as the game wore on, but for a goal. The Dream Team mainly had Mahmoud Abunada to thank for his exceptional performance below the bar.
The return of Hamdi Harbaoui and Abdullah Marafie strengthened the Arabi ranks. German forward Pierre-Michel Lasogga failed to connect the ball in front of the goal after 10 minutes. After Al Rayyan’s Yacine Brahimi’s free-kick was saved by Abunada in the 22nd minute, Hamdi headed over and his team-mate Aron Gunnarsson sent his angular shot wide of the left upright. Soon, Arabi captain Ahmed Fathy shot against the right upright from distance. Arabi then had a golden chance to take the lead as they earned a penalty when Dame Traore pulled down Lasogga. But Hamdi sent the resultant kick wide even as goalkeeper Fahd Younis had jumped to the other side.
Rayyan had a couple of chances before the close of first half. First, Brahimi was thwarted by Abunada and Abdulaziz Hatem sent his shot straight to the goalkeeper first bounce. After many attempts in the second half which saw Rayyan field Sebastian Soria in search of a goal, Abunada effected triple saves starting in the 85th minute when he blocked Abdulrahman Al Harazi twice and Abdulaziz Hatem.
Ahmed Abdelmaqsoud rounded off Al Rayyan’s attacks as he sent his rocket shot wide, resulting in the teams sharing the spoils.
Shahania’s Farhan denies Sailiya a victory
Saoud Farhan scored in the injured time as Al Shahania snatched a last-gasp goal to hold Al Sailiya 2-2 at the Al Sadd Stadium. Nadir Belhadj (37th minute) and Mohamed Abuzraik (40th minute) scored for Al Sailiya, while Al Shahania replied through Ramin Rezaein with a 21st-minute penalty before Farhan found the net deep into added time.
Sailiya moved on to 25 points, while Al Shahania, battling for survival, got yet another point and are now on 14. Al Shahania and Al Sailiya had played out a goalless draw in the first leg of 2019-20 QNB Stars League.
The two dropped points may prove costly in Al Sailiya’s campaign targeting a top-four spot in the league and a berth in the Qatar Cup as well as AFC Champions League. With only three matches remaining, they are sure not to repeat their performance last season when they secured the third place, their best-ever finish in the league.
Al Shahania, who scored a creditable 3-1 victory over Al Ahli in Week 18, raised visions of successive victories that would have done them a world of good in their fight to avoid relegation when they surged ahead through Rezaein’s penalty conversion. Referee Abdulla Ali Athba pointed to the spot as Rezaein was fouled by Ahmed al-Menhali. Belhadj made it 1-1 when his solo effort resulted in a beaming shot that went in after hitting the left post. Mohamed Abuzraik gave The Peregrines the lead when he pounced on a loose through ball and chipped it in past an onrushing goalkeeper Ebrahim Daryoush.
Rezaein was thwarted by goalkeeper Amine Lecomte and team-mate Nigel de Jong sent a long-range shot wide, while Abdulqadir Ilyas hit wide off Al Sailiya’s other chance during the first half. The second session came to real life when Mohamed Abuzraik’s shot was blocked by the goalkeeper in the 80th minute.
Shahania pressed hard and were rewarded as Saoud Farhan took advantage of confusion between Lecomte and defender Mostafa Mohamed, and placed the ball home deep into stoppage time.
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